DMV Point System in Virginia
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To deter drivers from committing repeated violations, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) uses a point system for traffic violations. If you have too many points on your driving record, you may lose some or all of your driving privileges.
Here's what you need to know about the point system in the state of Virginia.
What is the Virginia DMV Points System?
Each time you are convicted of a traffic violation, a predetermined number of points will be added to your driving record. These points stay on your driving record for 2 years from the date you commit the infraction.
If these demerit points accumulate, your driving privileges may be revoked or suspended.
In Virginia, point suspensions depend upon:
- The number of points you receive within a given time period.
- Your age.
- The nature of the offense.
For adult drivers in Virginia (see below for info pertaining to teen drivers), suspensions occur based upon the number of demerit points you receive within a given period of time.
For adult drivers, your license may be suspended if you collect:
- 12 points within 12 months.
- 18 points within 24 months.
For both point accumulations, you must attend a driver improvement clinic within 90 days to avoid a suspension.
You may also receive an automatic suspension if you accumulate:
- 18 points within 12 months.
- 24 points within 24 months.
For either of these violations, your license will be suspended for 90 days. A driver improvement clinic will also need to be completed before your license can be reinstated.
Drivers Ages 18 to 19
When you are 18 or 19 years old, receiving any demerit point violation will require you to attend a driver improvement clinic. Failure to attend the clinic could result in a suspension or other penalty.
Drivers Under 18
For new drivers under 18 years old, traffic violations carry a more serious punishment.
If you fall into this age category, a driver improvement clinic must be completed within 90 days to prevent license suspension if you:
- Are guilty of any demerit point violation, regardless of type or point tally.
- Commit a safety belt infraction or are convicted of a child safety restraint violation.
The Virginia DMV will automatically suspend your license if you receive:
- 2 convictions for any point violation when under 18 years old.
- License suspended for 90 days.
- 3 convictions for any point violation.
- License suspended for 1 year, OR until you turn 18 years old.
Automatic Suspensions & Revocations
Other driving infractions that may be cause for an automatic suspension or revocation of your Virginia driver's license include:
- Driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI/DWI).
- Fleeing the scene of an accident in which a fatality has occurred.
- A motor vehicle collision resulting in a fatality.
- Some drug offenses.
- May be unrelated to an incident involving a motor vehicle.
- Reckless or aggressive driving.
- Driving without a valid driver's license.
Common Point Violations in Virginia
The number of points you receive for each conviction depends upon the infraction. In general, the points associated with a conviction for a traffic infraction will be either:
- 3 points.
- 4 points.
- 6 points.
Below is a list of some common traffic violations and associated points that could be added to your driving record:
- 3 points:
- Driving 1 to 9 MPH above the speed limit.
- Attempting an improper U-turn.
- Turning left on a red signal.
- Disobeying highway or other traffic signs or signals.
- 4 points:
- Driving at a speed between 10 to 19 MPH over the speed limit.
- Failure to yield right of way to:
- Emergency vehicles.
- Other vehicles or pedestrians.
- Failure to maintain a safe driving distance from other vehicles.
- Driving a vehicle aggressively.
- 6 points:
- Driving 20 MPH or higher above the speed limit.
- Street racing.
- Passing or attempting to pass a stopped school bus.
- Operating a vehicle with a suspended license.
- Failure to stop after a collision.
For the full list of point violations, please visit the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles' website.
VA Safe Driving Points Program
In Virginia, licensed drivers can also earn safe driving points. Safe driving points are awarded to individuals with 0 violations or suspensions during a calendar year.
Here's how it works:
- You will receive 1 safe driving point annually.
- Points are awarded each April for the previous year's good driving.
- You may receive up to a TOTAL of 5 safe driving points.
- These points may be used as a cushion against future traffic tickets.
- FOR EXAMPLE: If you have 5 safe driving points and receive a ticket for an offense carrying 3 demerit points, you'll have 2 safe driving points left as opposed to 3 additional demerit points on your record.
Points may also be earned by attending a driver improvement clinic. In some cases, the driver improvement clinic—also referred to as a defensive driving course—is a program offered by the state to help drivers avoid suspensions. It is also used to reward safe drivers and educate those drivers who have shown risky behavior while operating a motor vehicle.
Attending the driver improvement clinic may also help you to decrease your insurance premiums. For more information, visit our guide to how defensive driving affects car insurance.